Okla. St.'s Olsen competes in first Tour event
ORLANDO, Fla. – Best spring break ever?
Oklahoma State’s Zachary Olsen is playing in his first PGA Tour event at the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which begins Thursday at Bay Hill.
Olsen, 19, is in the field by virtue of his 2013 Southern Amateur victory in July at The Club at Carlton Woods. One of the top-ranked amateur events in the U.S., the Southern Amateur has give out a sponsor exemption for the last 10 years. This year the event will be played at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tenn.
The freshman arrived at Bay Hill Club & Lodge on Monday after competing in the National Invitational Tournament with the Cowboys last week in Tucson, Ariz. He practiced Monday and then played a practice round with Scott Stallings Tuesday.
PHOTOS: Arnold Palmer Invitational, Tues.
Check out photos from our Tracy Wilcox as she was at Tuesday's practice round for the Arnold Palmer Invitational at Bay Hill Club and Lodge in Orlando, Fla.
“He (Stallings) and his caddie were both very helpful,” Olsen said. “They showed me how to play some holes out there and then where some hole locations will be for the tournament so I can practice those.”
Olsen, who hails from Cordova, Tenn., met Stallings (a Tennessee Tech grad) and now a resident of Tennessee. Therefore, it was a natural fit to ask to play a practice round.
Oklahoma State alums Rickie Fowler and Morgan Hoffmann have also approached Olsen this week and have told him to enjoy the moment.
Over the last three tournaments – omitting his second-round 81 at the Southern Highlands Collegiate Masters – Olsen has a 71.0 stroke average and he believes he is coming around after a mediocre fall season.
“I think my game is a lot better since the fall,” he added. “Everything is starting to come together on the course finally.”
He’ll tee it up on Thursday with Tyrone Van Aswegen and Brooks Koepka at 2:08 p.m. EST.
“I think the first tee is going to be a lot easier than practicing around all the top players in the world,” Olsen added. “When you play golf, you’re playing golf, but when it’s everything else besides the golf that’s a lot different.
“This is definitely my best spring break ever.”